NZ Historic Weather Events Catalog

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ModerateJanuary 1953 Eastern New Zealand Flooding ( 1953-01-24 )

There was heavy rain and flooding from the 24th to the 28th of January from southern Hawke's Bay to North Canterbury. There was serious damage to roads, railway lines and telephone lines.

New Zealand

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at New Zealand
Duration:   5  days - There was heavy rain and flooding from the 24th to the 28th of January from southern Hawke's Bay to North Canterbury.
Comments:

Stock DamageStock losses were substantial, and included 6500 sheep.

CauseA very active depression developed east of Banks Peninsula and took an unusual northward track, producing flooding from North Canterbury to southern Hawke's Bay. There was exceptionally heavy rain along an axis through Wanstead, Elsthorpe and Maraetotora during night of the 27th, when the low was centred over Northland.

Bay of Plenty

HailHail at Ngongotaha
Map Location: -38.076778 176.218274
Comments:

Crop DamageOn the 26th a hail storm hit Ngongotaha resulting in damage to crops.

Hawke's Bay

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Hawke's Bay
Comments:

CommentHeavy rain hit the Hawke's Bay on the 27th to the 28th.

Physical CharacteristicCentral Hawke's Bay received 4.58 in (11.63 cm) of rain up to 9:00am on the 28th.

CommentThere was exceptionally heavy rain over Wanstead, Elsthorpe and Maraetotara.

CommentThe bulk of the rain fell in six hours.

CommentThe storm came from the south and travelled in a north-easterly direction. The axis of the storm was along a line running through Wanstead, Elsthorpe and Maraetotara.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentFlooding occurred in Tukituki, Porangahau and Maraetotara River.

Stock DamageThere were heavy stock losses. 6500 sheep drowned, mostly in the Porangahau catchment. One farmer lost 500 ewes and acres of grass feed and another farmer lost 80 sheep.

DamageMuch fencing was destroyed.

ImpactHouses in many districts were flooded and many homes were isolated.

Damage CostDamage to county roads in the province cost £31,373 ($1,564,000 2009 dollars).

Affected LifelineApproaches to bridges were washed away.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

ImpactThere was a large amount of surface slipping along the track of the storm. It was estimated that 1000 acres (405 ha) of pasture was covered by slip debris in Hawke's Bay and Manawatu-Wanganui.

Affected LifelineMany roads were blocked by slips.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Crownthorpe homestead
Map Location: -39.566 176.52132
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicCrownthorpe recorded 1.12 in (2.84 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Fernhill
Map Location: -39.590617 176.762035
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicFernhill recorded 0.90 in (2.29 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Glencoe homestead
Map Location: -39.69147 176.57442
Comments:

CommentOne of the heaviest deluges this district has ever experienced occurred on the 27th.

Physical CharacteristicGlencoe recorded 3.15 in (8.0 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactGirl guides holding a camp were forced to abandon camp after rain swept through the camping area and quickly flooded the grounds.

LightningLightning
Comments:

CommentThere was vivid lightning and thunderclaps.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Hastings
Map Location: -39.635771 176.828045
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicHastings recorded 1.45 in (3.68 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

LightningLightning
Comments:

CommentOn the 27th there were two electrical storms moving across the Heretaunga Plains.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentTorrential rain caused some flooding in Hastings.

Affected Lifeline16 wagons of a ballast train were derailed near the Kennels due to the undermined railway embankment.

CommentPoukawa swamp was in flood following heavy rain.

Affected LifelinePower was cut off over the whole district for about three minutes.

ImpactWater was overflowing culverts and forcing its way into shop premises. Several shops were flooded.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Havelock North
Map Location: -39.673179 176.882039
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicHavelock North recorded 2.35 in (5.97 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Hawea homestead
Map Location: -39.87677 176.82974
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicHawea Road recorded 7.84 in (19.11 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Kahuranaki homestead
Map Location: -39.784988 176.854472
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicKahuranaki recorded 224 mm (22.4 cm) of rain in nine hours (which has a return periodof well over 150 years).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Kohatunui
Map Location: -39.53928 176.42099
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicKohatunui recorded 1.43 in (3.63 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

FloodingFlooding at Mangamahaki
Map Location: -39.99544 176.68965
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMangamahaki tributary at Tamumu had a discharge of approximately 65,000 cusecs (1841 cumecs) into the Tukituki River with a catchment area of 102.5 sq miles (265 km^2).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Mangarouhi homestead
Map Location: -40.06313 176.64433
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMangarouhi Valley recorded 349 mm (34.9 cm) of rain in 12 hours (mostly in six hours). This rainfall has a return period of well over 150 years.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Maraekakaho
Map Location: -39.64746 176.619961
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMaraekakaho recorded 2.28 in (5.79 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Maraetotara Reserve
Map Location: -39.868507 176.890754
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMaraetotara recorded 1.85 in (4.70 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

FloodingFlooding at Maraetotara River
Map Location: -39.827775 176.895693
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMaraetotara River rose 10 ft (3.05 m), which was 2.4 ft (0.73 m) higher than the July 1951 flood level.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Matapiro
Map Location: -39.5972 176.61264
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMatapiro recorded 1.36 in (3.45 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Napier
Map Location: -39.502426 176.892804
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicNapier recorded 0.71 in (1.80 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Otamauri
Map Location: -39.49929 176.49929
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicOtamauri recorded 0.96 in (2.44 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

FloodingFlooding at Porangahau
Map Location: -40.297164 176.611003
Comments:

ImpactPorangahau was inundated.

Affected LifelineThe main road area was the worst affected. Torrents of water were pouring across the road.

Affected LifelineTelephone communication from Wanstead to Porangahau was impossible due to slips bringing down the poles.

Stock DamageIn this area approximately 140 ewes were counted lying around fences.

FloodingFlooding at Porangahau River
Map Location: -40.28704 176.57397
Comments:

Peak DischargePorangahau River had a peak discharge of 81,000 cusecs (2294 cumecs) with a catchment area of 300 sq miles (777 km^2).

Physical CharacteristicAt the Saleyards Bridge the river rose 43 ft (13.1 m).

ImpactPorangahau River was in major flood and inundated adjacent land. Many homes were isolated.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Pukehou
Map Location: -39.835793 176.636336
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicPukehou recorded 3.5 in (8.89 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Puketapu
Map Location: -39.508443 176.793634
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicPuketapu recorded 0.89 in (2.26 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Sherenden
Map Location: -39.50508 176.57465
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicSherenden recorded 1.11 in (2.82 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Taurapa
Map Location: -39.72585 176.98278
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTaurapa recorded 1.06 in (2.69 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Tauroa homestead
Map Location: -39.71882 176.90503
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTauroa recorded 3.0 in (7.62 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Te Apiti homestead
Map Location: -39.911598 176.935928
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTe Apiti recorded 0.55 in (1.40 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

FloodingFlooding at Te Awanga
Map Location: -39.63397 176.98068
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTe Awanga camping ground was flooded to a depth of 2 ft (0.61 m).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Te Mata Park
Map Location: -39.698253 176.900375
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTe Mata recorded 2.0 in (5.08 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

FloodingFlooding at Tukituki River
Map Location: -39.900244 176.162889
Comments:

Peak DischargeTukituki River reached its greatest height at Black Bridge with a peak discharge of 83,300 cusecs (2359 cumecs) (during the flood of August 1949 the discharge was only 76,800 cusecs (2175 cumecs)).

LightningLightning at Waikaremoana
Map Location: -38.756549 177.154762
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere was a widespread power failure on the 27th due to a violent thunder storm.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Waimarama
Map Location: -39.815128 176.988843
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWaimarama recorded 1.76 in (4.47 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Waipawa
Map Location: -39.940581 176.600338
Comments:

ImpactTorrential rain caused heavy flooding at 'The Bush'.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactSeveral houses had water up to their doorsteps.

Stock DamageApproximately 20 sheep drowned.

LandslideLandslide at Waipukurau
Map Location: -39.999445 176.562423
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere were serious slips in Tourere and Ngahape road area.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Wallingford
Map Location: -40.20076 176.59529
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicBush Road recorded 6.15 in (15.62 cm) of rain in 12 hours.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Impact50 people were marooned.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Wanstead
Map Location: -40.140814 176.537526
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWanstead recorded 233 mm (23.3 cm) of rain in 14.5 hours (which had a return period of over 150 years).

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Stock DamageThere were hundreds of dead sheep seen on the fences in the Wanstead area.

CommentA pilot made several trips over the area with bread for marooned people.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

CommentThere were thousands of slips seen in the country.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Wilder Settlement
Map Location: -40.25667 176.5065
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWilder Settlement recorded 208 mm (20.8 cm) of rain in nine hours (which has a return period of well over 150 years).

Manawatu-Wanganui

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Manawatu-Wanganui
Comments:

CommentThere was heavy rain from the south on the 26th which fell continuously on the 27th and eased on the 28th.

CommentThere was rainfall in general in the Manawatu, southern Hawkes Bay and northern Wairarapa districts. Very intense rainfall appeared in a triangle between Palmerston North, Dannevirke and Pahiatua and the east coast.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentMangatainoka, Mangahao, Pohangina and Oroua rivers were in moderate flood.

ImpactThere was severe flooding throughout the Manawatu.

Stock DamageThere were very heavy stock losses.

ImpactHouses in many districts were flooded.

Affected LifelineThere was widespread damage to farmland, road and rail networks.

DamageFarm damage in the area was severe and many fences were destroyed.

Damage CostDamage to Manawatu Catchment Board works cost £40,000 ($1,995,000 2009 dollars).

Damage CostDamage to state highways in the area cost £2500 ($124,700 2009 dollars).

Physical CharacteristicTematai Road on the main Napier highway was under 4 ft (1.22 m) of water.

ImpactA horse and rider was swept away by a torrent on the main road but they were both saved.

Affected LifelineMangapuaka Bridge on the Norsewood-Te Uri road was washed away.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineMany roads were blocked by slips.

FloodingFlooding at Akitio River
Map Location: -40.47313 176.29353
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicAkitio River had an estimated discharge of 60,000 cusecs (1699 cumecs) with a catchment area of 200 sq miles (518 km^2).

FloodingFlooding at Aohanga River
Map Location: -40.6769 176.3511
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicAohanga River had a discharge of 43,000 cusecs (1218 cumecs) with a catchment area of 160 sq miles (414 km^2).

Physical CharacteristicAohanga River had a discharge of 32,400 cusecs (917 cumecs) with a catchment area of 95 sq miles (246 km^2).

FloodingFlooding at Dannevirke
Map Location: -40.212104 176.095139
Comments:

DamageBridges in the Dannevirke area were under water and many were damaged.

LandslideLandslide at Hamua
Map Location: -40.55938 175.74248
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere were extensive slips blocking the highway.

FloodingFlooding at Hokowhitu River
Map Location: -40.3598 175.62629
Comments:

EvacueesLower Hokowhitu River broke through leading to an urgent order to residents to evacuate homes.

FloodingFlooding at Konini
Map Location: -40.505649 175.785172
Comments:

CommentThe river at Konini burst its banks.

ImpactMost of the streets in town flooded and dirty creek water flowed into some shops.

FloodingFlooding at Levin
Map Location: -40.610591 175.272321
Comments:

ImpactThere was surface flooding in low-lying areas.

FloodingFlooding at Longburn
Map Location: -40.381237 175.534372
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicAt the peak of the flood water came in near Longburn and the flood level reached 18 in (0.46 m) higher than the flood in 1902.

FloodingFlooding at Manawatu Gorge
Map Location: -40.31792 175.798027
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicManawatu Gorge was choked by the flood at its peak. There was a 42 ft (12.8 m) rise in the river.

ImpactThere was widespread flooding to a considerable depth between the Manawatu Gorge and Palmerston North. A large volume of water escaped along the right bank.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineAll traffic through the gorge was blocked by an extensive slip. There were at least six big slips that occurred in the gorge. 40 cars were trapped.

EvacueesTwo families (approximately eight people) were evacuated.

FloodingFlooding at Manawatu River
Map Location: -40.31344 175.74075
Comments:

Peak DischargeThe peak level of the Manawatu River was 21 ft 5 in (6.6 m) at Fitzherbert gauge with a peak discharge of 159,611 cusecs (4520 cumecs).The river held its peak for five hours and remained over 20 ft (6.1 m) for 15.5 hours.

Physical CharacteristicManawatu River had a discharge of 93,988 cusecs (2661 cumecs) at Hopelands.

Physical CharacteristicManawatu River had a discharge of 145,611 cusecs (4123 cumecs) at Ashhurst.

CommentManawatu River was in its sixth biggest flood on record.

FloodingFlooding at Mangahao River
Map Location: -40.46212 175.7686
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMangahao River had a discharge of 22,167 cumecs (628 cumecs) at the Highway Bridge.

FloodingFlooding at Mangatainoka River
Map Location: -40.55251 175.71858
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMangatainoka River had a discharge of 19,538 cumecs (553 cumecs) at the Highway Bridge.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Motuotaria
Map Location: -40.13333 176.55
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMotuotaria recorded 9.19 in (23.34 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Nikau Hill
Map Location: -40.24785 176.37902
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicNikau Hill recorded 10.31 in (26.19 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Ohakea
Map Location: -40.203473 175.377875
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicOhakea recorded 5.0 in (12.7 cm) of rain in three days.

FloodingFlooding at Opiki
Map Location: -40.444716 175.453033
Comments:

Crop DamageThe main drainage system at Opiki overlapped its banks and flooded crop land.

FloodingFlooding at Oroua River
Map Location: -40.316054 175.486605
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicOroua River had a disharge of 5656 cusecs (160 cumecs) at Kopane Bridge.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Pahiatua
Map Location: -40.457232 175.849226
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicPahitua recorded 6.96 in (17.6 cm) of rain in 48 hours.

CommentIt was the heaviest rainfall for 30 years.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactThe main street resembled a miniature lake.

ImpactThe town was isolated by floodwaters.

EvacueesThe creek south of Pahiatua became a raging torrent. It cut into the highway and caused a number of families to evacuate their homes.

CommentThis flood was worse than the flood of 1941.

Stock DamageStock losses occurred in low-lying country with ewes and lambs being swept away.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Palmerston North
Map Location: -40.355525 175.616438
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicPalmerston North recorded 5 in (12.7 cm) of rain in 48 hours.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineExits from Palmerston North with the exception of the main road north to Wanganui were closed.

Affected LifelineThe highway from Palmerston North to Levin was blocked.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelinePalmerston North was cut off from the East Coast by road and rail due to slips in the Manawatu Gorge.

FloodingFlooding at Pongaroa
Map Location: -40.539093 176.198738
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe town was isolated by floodwaters for two days. There was no road or rail into the town.

Physical CharacteristicThe roads were covered to a depth of 5 ft (1.52 m) in places.

CommentA Pongaroa resident described it as the worst flood in nearly 50 years.

Affected LifelineThe telephone cable over the Pongaroa bridge was carried away .

FloodingFlooding at Pongaroa River
Map Location: -40.52131 176.15714
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicPongaroa River had a discharge of 20,200 cusecs (572 cumecs) with a catchment area of 20 sq miles (52 km^2).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Shannon
Map Location: -40.54778 175.41487
Comments:

CommentTorrential rain hit Shannon on the 27th.

CommentTokomaru River rose rapidly.

FloodingFlooding at Taonui
Map Location: -40.256048 175.592591
Comments:

ImpactWater overflowed into the Taonui basin near the Rangitane Toll bridge when the banks of the river breached.

Physical CharacteristicThe water level in the Taonui basin was 42.2 ft (12.9 m) and was 18 in (0.46 m) higher than the 1902 flood level. The stopbanks were also breached in other areas.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Waiwhero homestead
Map Location: -40.07121 176.65972
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWaiwhero Station recorded 352 mm (35.2 cm) of rain.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Wanganui
Map Location: -39.932232 175.028352
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWanganui recorded 1.96 in (4.97 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

LandslideLandslide at Weber
Map Location: -40.40153 176.30772
Comments:

Affected LifelineWeber County suffered severe damage. There were 35 slips on the road from Dannevirke to Weber County.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineWeber Road and the East Coast were covered by floodwaters.

Affected LifelineThe telephone line from Dannevirke to Weber was down.

FloodingFlooding at Woodville
Map Location: -40.342202 175.873222
Comments:

ImpactThere were large areas of surface flooding.

Wellington

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Wellington
Comments:

CommentThere was torrential rain and flooding in the Wellington region on the 28th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactIn South Wairarapa 10,000 acres (4047 ha) of low-lying farmland was inundated.

Damage CostDamage to county roads cost £19,400 ($967,000 2009 dollars).

Stock DamageStock losses were expected to be heavy in the Haungarua and Mangarama areas.

FloodingFlooding at Hutt River
Map Location: -41.162848 174.974804
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicHutt River had a discharge of approximately 19,500 cusecs (552 cumecs).

Affected LifelineThe Taita railway bridge was seriously damaged due to heavy flooding of the river.

FloodingFlooding at Masterton
Map Location: -40.964296 175.667649
Comments:

Affected LifelinePassengers in a Woodville-Masterton railcar spent the night in the car when they became isolated by slips.

FloodingFlooding at Ruamahanga River
Map Location: -41.102055 175.509442
Comments:

CommentRuamahanga River was at its highest level since 1949.

Marlborough

FloodingFlooding at Flags Creek
Map Location: -41.92001 174.08689
Comments:

Peak DischargeFlags Creek at Wharanui had a peak discharge of 700 cusecs (20 cumecs).

FloodingFlooding at Flaxbourne River
Map Location: -41.79769 174.11974
Comments:

Peak DischargeFlaxbourne River had a peak discharge of 4500 cusecs (127 cumecs) at the lime works.

Canterbury

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Canterbury
Comments:

CommentThere was heavy rain thoughout province causing flooding from the 24th to the 27th. There was exceptional amounts of rain in the foothills.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentThere was major flooding in the Ashley, Clarence, Porangahau and Manawatu rivers.

DamageThere was widespread damage to farmland.

Affected LifelineRoad and rail communication to the north and west of Christchurch was severed.

Damage CostMain highways in mid-Canterbury had damage totalling £5850 ($292,000 2009 dollars).

Damage CostThe damage to State Highways 51 and 72 in North Canterbury cost £38,700 ($1,930,000 2009 dollars).

Affected LifelineRail and road communications to the south were cut.

CommentCanterbury rivers and creeks were in high flood.

Affected LifelineThe railway line to the West Coast was washed out between Springfield and Arthurs Pass.

Affected LifelineThe main railway line north was impassable due to damage to a bridge over the Ashley River.

ImpactThousands of acres of farmland was inundated.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineRoads to the West Coast over both the Lewis and Arthur Pass were blocked due to slips.

FloodingFlooding at Acheron River
Map Location: -42.04082 173.19359
Comments:

Peak DischargeAcheron River, a tributary of the Clarence, peaked at 10,284 cusecs (291 cumecs) at Pudding Hill.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Ashley Gorge
Map Location: -43.22999 172.22308
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicAshley Gorge recorded 4.50 in (11.43 cm) of rain in 48 hours from the 24th to the 25th.

FloodingFlooding at Ashley River
Map Location: -43.27606 172.67771
Comments:

DamageThe river caused widespread damage to farmlands.

ImpactAshley River broke through the emergency stopbanks above the Rangiora traffic bridge and flowed towards Rangiora, Coldstream, Kaiapoi, Woodend and Waikuku.

Affected LifelineThere was serious disruption of road and rail communications over the Ashley River.

Affected LifelineThere were telephone outages.

Peak DischargeAshely River had a peak discharge of 33,000 cusecs (934 cumecs) at the Gorge.

CommentThe worst flooding was in the Ashley River which broke its banks near Rangiora.

FloodingFlooding at Christchurch
Map Location: -43.53112 172.636147
Comments:

CommentChristchurch was virtually isolated from the north and west.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Clarence River
Map Location: -42.353151 172.789399
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicClarence Valley recorded 5.0 in (12.7 cm) of rain in eight hours on the 25th.

Physical CharacteristicClarence Valley recorded 10.0 in (25.4 cm) of rain in three days.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

DamageClarence River caused widespread damage to farmlands.

Affected LifelineThe river caused serious disruption of road and rail communications. 110 yards (101 m) of the northern approach to the Clarence traffic bridge was washed away.

Peak DischargeClarence River had a peak discharge of 81,576 cusecs (2310 cumecs) at Waiauroa Bridge. It was at a level 5 inches (0.13 m) lower than the flood of the previous November.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Darfield
Map Location: -43.484623 172.113507
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicDarfield recorded 3.3 in (8.38 cm) of rain from the 23rd to the 25th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Glenburn
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicGlenburn recorded 9.67 in (24.56 cm) of rain in 48 hours from the 24th to the 25th.

FloodingFlooding at Hapuku River
Map Location: -42.30764 173.70257
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicHapuku River rose 6.5 ft (1.98 m) at railway bridge

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Hororata
Map Location: -43.53589 171.94819
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicHororata recorded 4.76 in (12.09 cm) of rain from the 23rd to the 25th.

FloodingFlooding at Kahutara River
Map Location: -42.36028 173.423035
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicKahutara River rose 9 ft (2.74 m) at the railway bridge.

FloodingFlooding at Kowhai River
Map Location: -42.366344 173.583931
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicKowhai River rose 6 ft (1.83 m) at the railway bridge.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Lees Valley
Map Location: -43.14685 172.17342
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicLee's Valley recorded 10.67 in (27.10 cm) of rain in 48 hours from the 24th to the 25th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Mount Torlesse
Map Location: -43.25447 171.82249
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMt Torlesse recorded 5.14 in (13.06 cm) of rain from the 23rd to the 25th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Orari
Map Location: -44.13804 171.29931
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicOrari recorded 2.86 in (7.26 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

FloodingFlooding at Orari River
Map Location: -43.856743 170.916861
Comments:

DamageThe Orari River catchment was affected by the flooding and there was damage to protective works and overtopping.

FloodingFlooding at Rangiora
Map Location: -43.310007 172.570781
Comments:

Affected LifelineMany bridges in Rangiora county were damaged.

FloodingFlooding at Selwyn River
Map Location: -43.6641 172.294396
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicSelwyn River had a discharge pf 18,600 cusecs (527 cumecs) at the Ellesmere Bridge with a catchment area of 252 sq miles (653 km^2).

FloodingFlooding at Waimakariri River
Map Location: -43.459744 172.289962
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWaimakariri River had a peak discharge of 59,200 cusecs (1676 cumecs) at the traffic bridge.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Wharfedale
Map Location: -43.15014 172.19674
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWharfdale recorded 10.87 in (27.61 cm) of rain in 48 hours from the 24th to the 25th.

FloodingFlooding at Woodend
Map Location: -43.32104 172.66576
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe main road north near Woodend was closed.

ImpactSeveral farms in the Woodend-Waikuku district were isolated.

References

Catalogue of Severe Hail Storms, 1924 - 1986 and 1991 - 2006: Source: Neale.
Cowie, C.A., Attwood, A.K. (1957) Floods in New Zealand 1920-1953, The Soil Conservation Control Council, Wellington, New Zealand
Hydrology Annual No.3 1955, Soil Conservation and River Control Council, Wellington, New Zealand
Johnston, D.D., and Pearse, L.J. 2007. Hazards in Hawke's Bay. Hawke's Bay Regional Council, Napier, New Zealand.
Major weather events in New Zealand, FLOODS and HIGH RAINFALL to 31st May 2006.
NZ Met Service. (2008). Meteorology of Extreme Rainfalls in New Zealand (Mark Pascoe, Ed.).
Owen, R.E., 1957. Rainfall Observations for 1953, New Zealand Meteorological Service.
Saunders, W.(2000) Planning and Resources, Hazard and Emergency Management Section, WAIRARAPA DIVISION, Wairarapa Storm Events 1880 - 1998, Technical Report No. 00/17
Headline: Major floods in southern zone of North Island.
The Evening Post, January 28 1953.
Headline: Pongaroa out of Isolation.
The Evening Post, January 29 1953.
Headline: Deluge At Glencoe Breaks Up Girl Guides Camp.
The Hawkes Bay Herald-Tribune, 27 January 1953.
Headline: Violent Electrical Storms Over many Areas.
The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune, 27 January 1953.
Headline: Devastation and Big Seep Losses In Central H.B.
The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune, 28 January 1953.
Headline: Heaviest Rainfall East Of Tukituki Some Stock Losses.
The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune, 28 January 1953.
Headline: Manawatu Rises To Record Levels Flooding Roads.
The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune, 28 January 1953.
Headline: Torrential Rain Inundates Wide Areas
The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune, 28 January 1953.
Headline: Waipawa Houses Threatened by Flood.
The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune, 28 January 1953.
Headline: Planes Drop Bread to Marooned Porangahau.
The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune, 29 January 1953.
Headline: Floods block Canterbury Rail and Roadways.
The Wanganui Chronicle, 26 January 1953.
Headline: Heavy rain in Tararua Ranges causes floods.
The Wanganui Chronicle, 28 January 1953.

ModerateJanuary 1953 Eastern New Zealand Flooding ( 1953-01-24 )

There was heavy rain and flooding from the 24th to the 28th of January from southern Hawke's Bay to North Canterbury. There was serious damage to roads, railway lines and telephone lines.

New Zealand

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at New Zealand
Duration:   5  days - There was heavy rain and flooding from the 24th to the 28th of January from southern Hawke's Bay to North Canterbury.
Comments:

Stock DamageStock losses were substantial, and included 6500 sheep.

CauseA very active depression developed east of Banks Peninsula and took an unusual northward track, producing flooding from North Canterbury to southern Hawke's Bay. There was exceptionally heavy rain along an axis through Wanstead, Elsthorpe and Maraetotora during night of the 27th, when the low was centred over Northland.

Bay of Plenty

HailHail at Ngongotaha
Map Location: -38.076778 176.218274
Comments:

Crop DamageOn the 26th a hail storm hit Ngongotaha resulting in damage to crops.

Hawke's Bay

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Hawke's Bay
Comments:

CommentHeavy rain hit the Hawke's Bay on the 27th to the 28th.

Physical CharacteristicCentral Hawke's Bay received 4.58 in (11.63 cm) of rain up to 9:00am on the 28th.

CommentThere was exceptionally heavy rain over Wanstead, Elsthorpe and Maraetotara.

CommentThe bulk of the rain fell in six hours.

CommentThe storm came from the south and travelled in a north-easterly direction. The axis of the storm was along a line running through Wanstead, Elsthorpe and Maraetotara.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentFlooding occurred in Tukituki, Porangahau and Maraetotara River.

Stock DamageThere were heavy stock losses. 6500 sheep drowned, mostly in the Porangahau catchment. One farmer lost 500 ewes and acres of grass feed and another farmer lost 80 sheep.

DamageMuch fencing was destroyed.

ImpactHouses in many districts were flooded and many homes were isolated.

Damage CostDamage to county roads in the province cost £31,373 ($1,564,000 2009 dollars).

Affected LifelineApproaches to bridges were washed away.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

ImpactThere was a large amount of surface slipping along the track of the storm. It was estimated that 1000 acres (405 ha) of pasture was covered by slip debris in Hawke's Bay and Manawatu-Wanganui.

Affected LifelineMany roads were blocked by slips.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Crownthorpe homestead
Map Location: -39.566 176.52132
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicCrownthorpe recorded 1.12 in (2.84 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Fernhill
Map Location: -39.590617 176.762035
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicFernhill recorded 0.90 in (2.29 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Glencoe homestead
Map Location: -39.69147 176.57442
Comments:

CommentOne of the heaviest deluges this district has ever experienced occurred on the 27th.

Physical CharacteristicGlencoe recorded 3.15 in (8.0 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactGirl guides holding a camp were forced to abandon camp after rain swept through the camping area and quickly flooded the grounds.

LightningLightning
Comments:

CommentThere was vivid lightning and thunderclaps.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Hastings
Map Location: -39.635771 176.828045
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicHastings recorded 1.45 in (3.68 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

LightningLightning
Comments:

CommentOn the 27th there were two electrical storms moving across the Heretaunga Plains.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentTorrential rain caused some flooding in Hastings.

Affected Lifeline16 wagons of a ballast train were derailed near the Kennels due to the undermined railway embankment.

CommentPoukawa swamp was in flood following heavy rain.

Affected LifelinePower was cut off over the whole district for about three minutes.

ImpactWater was overflowing culverts and forcing its way into shop premises. Several shops were flooded.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Havelock North
Map Location: -39.673179 176.882039
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicHavelock North recorded 2.35 in (5.97 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Hawea homestead
Map Location: -39.87677 176.82974
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicHawea Road recorded 7.84 in (19.11 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Kahuranaki homestead
Map Location: -39.784988 176.854472
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicKahuranaki recorded 224 mm (22.4 cm) of rain in nine hours (which has a return periodof well over 150 years).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Kohatunui
Map Location: -39.53928 176.42099
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicKohatunui recorded 1.43 in (3.63 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

FloodingFlooding at Mangamahaki
Map Location: -39.99544 176.68965
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMangamahaki tributary at Tamumu had a discharge of approximately 65,000 cusecs (1841 cumecs) into the Tukituki River with a catchment area of 102.5 sq miles (265 km^2).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Mangarouhi homestead
Map Location: -40.06313 176.64433
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMangarouhi Valley recorded 349 mm (34.9 cm) of rain in 12 hours (mostly in six hours). This rainfall has a return period of well over 150 years.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Maraekakaho
Map Location: -39.64746 176.619961
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMaraekakaho recorded 2.28 in (5.79 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Maraetotara Reserve
Map Location: -39.868507 176.890754
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMaraetotara recorded 1.85 in (4.70 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

FloodingFlooding at Maraetotara River
Map Location: -39.827775 176.895693
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMaraetotara River rose 10 ft (3.05 m), which was 2.4 ft (0.73 m) higher than the July 1951 flood level.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Matapiro
Map Location: -39.5972 176.61264
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMatapiro recorded 1.36 in (3.45 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Napier
Map Location: -39.502426 176.892804
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicNapier recorded 0.71 in (1.80 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Otamauri
Map Location: -39.49929 176.49929
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicOtamauri recorded 0.96 in (2.44 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

FloodingFlooding at Porangahau
Map Location: -40.297164 176.611003
Comments:

ImpactPorangahau was inundated.

Affected LifelineThe main road area was the worst affected. Torrents of water were pouring across the road.

Affected LifelineTelephone communication from Wanstead to Porangahau was impossible due to slips bringing down the poles.

Stock DamageIn this area approximately 140 ewes were counted lying around fences.

FloodingFlooding at Porangahau River
Map Location: -40.28704 176.57397
Comments:

Peak DischargePorangahau River had a peak discharge of 81,000 cusecs (2294 cumecs) with a catchment area of 300 sq miles (777 km^2).

Physical CharacteristicAt the Saleyards Bridge the river rose 43 ft (13.1 m).

ImpactPorangahau River was in major flood and inundated adjacent land. Many homes were isolated.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Pukehou
Map Location: -39.835793 176.636336
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicPukehou recorded 3.5 in (8.89 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Puketapu
Map Location: -39.508443 176.793634
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicPuketapu recorded 0.89 in (2.26 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Sherenden
Map Location: -39.50508 176.57465
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicSherenden recorded 1.11 in (2.82 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Taurapa
Map Location: -39.72585 176.98278
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTaurapa recorded 1.06 in (2.69 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Tauroa homestead
Map Location: -39.71882 176.90503
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTauroa recorded 3.0 in (7.62 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Te Apiti homestead
Map Location: -39.911598 176.935928
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTe Apiti recorded 0.55 in (1.40 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

FloodingFlooding at Te Awanga
Map Location: -39.63397 176.98068
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTe Awanga camping ground was flooded to a depth of 2 ft (0.61 m).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Te Mata Park
Map Location: -39.698253 176.900375
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTe Mata recorded 2.0 in (5.08 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

FloodingFlooding at Tukituki River
Map Location: -39.900244 176.162889
Comments:

Peak DischargeTukituki River reached its greatest height at Black Bridge with a peak discharge of 83,300 cusecs (2359 cumecs) (during the flood of August 1949 the discharge was only 76,800 cusecs (2175 cumecs)).

LightningLightning at Waikaremoana
Map Location: -38.756549 177.154762
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere was a widespread power failure on the 27th due to a violent thunder storm.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Waimarama
Map Location: -39.815128 176.988843
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWaimarama recorded 1.76 in (4.47 cm) of rain in 24 hours up to 9:00am on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Waipawa
Map Location: -39.940581 176.600338
Comments:

ImpactTorrential rain caused heavy flooding at 'The Bush'.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactSeveral houses had water up to their doorsteps.

Stock DamageApproximately 20 sheep drowned.

LandslideLandslide at Waipukurau
Map Location: -39.999445 176.562423
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere were serious slips in Tourere and Ngahape road area.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Wallingford
Map Location: -40.20076 176.59529
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicBush Road recorded 6.15 in (15.62 cm) of rain in 12 hours.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Impact50 people were marooned.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Wanstead
Map Location: -40.140814 176.537526
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWanstead recorded 233 mm (23.3 cm) of rain in 14.5 hours (which had a return period of over 150 years).

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Stock DamageThere were hundreds of dead sheep seen on the fences in the Wanstead area.

CommentA pilot made several trips over the area with bread for marooned people.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

CommentThere were thousands of slips seen in the country.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Wilder Settlement
Map Location: -40.25667 176.5065
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWilder Settlement recorded 208 mm (20.8 cm) of rain in nine hours (which has a return period of well over 150 years).

Manawatu-Wanganui

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Manawatu-Wanganui
Comments:

CommentThere was heavy rain from the south on the 26th which fell continuously on the 27th and eased on the 28th.

CommentThere was rainfall in general in the Manawatu, southern Hawkes Bay and northern Wairarapa districts. Very intense rainfall appeared in a triangle between Palmerston North, Dannevirke and Pahiatua and the east coast.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentMangatainoka, Mangahao, Pohangina and Oroua rivers were in moderate flood.

ImpactThere was severe flooding throughout the Manawatu.

Stock DamageThere were very heavy stock losses.

ImpactHouses in many districts were flooded.

Affected LifelineThere was widespread damage to farmland, road and rail networks.

DamageFarm damage in the area was severe and many fences were destroyed.

Damage CostDamage to Manawatu Catchment Board works cost £40,000 ($1,995,000 2009 dollars).

Damage CostDamage to state highways in the area cost £2500 ($124,700 2009 dollars).

Physical CharacteristicTematai Road on the main Napier highway was under 4 ft (1.22 m) of water.

ImpactA horse and rider was swept away by a torrent on the main road but they were both saved.

Affected LifelineMangapuaka Bridge on the Norsewood-Te Uri road was washed away.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineMany roads were blocked by slips.

FloodingFlooding at Akitio River
Map Location: -40.47313 176.29353
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicAkitio River had an estimated discharge of 60,000 cusecs (1699 cumecs) with a catchment area of 200 sq miles (518 km^2).

FloodingFlooding at Aohanga River
Map Location: -40.6769 176.3511
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicAohanga River had a discharge of 43,000 cusecs (1218 cumecs) with a catchment area of 160 sq miles (414 km^2).

Physical CharacteristicAohanga River had a discharge of 32,400 cusecs (917 cumecs) with a catchment area of 95 sq miles (246 km^2).

FloodingFlooding at Dannevirke
Map Location: -40.212104 176.095139
Comments:

DamageBridges in the Dannevirke area were under water and many were damaged.

LandslideLandslide at Hamua
Map Location: -40.55938 175.74248
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere were extensive slips blocking the highway.

FloodingFlooding at Hokowhitu River
Map Location: -40.3598 175.62629
Comments:

EvacueesLower Hokowhitu River broke through leading to an urgent order to residents to evacuate homes.

FloodingFlooding at Konini
Map Location: -40.505649 175.785172
Comments:

CommentThe river at Konini burst its banks.

ImpactMost of the streets in town flooded and dirty creek water flowed into some shops.

FloodingFlooding at Levin
Map Location: -40.610591 175.272321
Comments:

ImpactThere was surface flooding in low-lying areas.

FloodingFlooding at Longburn
Map Location: -40.381237 175.534372
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicAt the peak of the flood water came in near Longburn and the flood level reached 18 in (0.46 m) higher than the flood in 1902.

FloodingFlooding at Manawatu Gorge
Map Location: -40.31792 175.798027
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicManawatu Gorge was choked by the flood at its peak. There was a 42 ft (12.8 m) rise in the river.

ImpactThere was widespread flooding to a considerable depth between the Manawatu Gorge and Palmerston North. A large volume of water escaped along the right bank.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineAll traffic through the gorge was blocked by an extensive slip. There were at least six big slips that occurred in the gorge. 40 cars were trapped.

EvacueesTwo families (approximately eight people) were evacuated.

FloodingFlooding at Manawatu River
Map Location: -40.31344 175.74075
Comments:

Peak DischargeThe peak level of the Manawatu River was 21 ft 5 in (6.6 m) at Fitzherbert gauge with a peak discharge of 159,611 cusecs (4520 cumecs).The river held its peak for five hours and remained over 20 ft (6.1 m) for 15.5 hours.

Physical CharacteristicManawatu River had a discharge of 93,988 cusecs (2661 cumecs) at Hopelands.

Physical CharacteristicManawatu River had a discharge of 145,611 cusecs (4123 cumecs) at Ashhurst.

CommentManawatu River was in its sixth biggest flood on record.

FloodingFlooding at Mangahao River
Map Location: -40.46212 175.7686
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMangahao River had a discharge of 22,167 cumecs (628 cumecs) at the Highway Bridge.

FloodingFlooding at Mangatainoka River
Map Location: -40.55251 175.71858
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMangatainoka River had a discharge of 19,538 cumecs (553 cumecs) at the Highway Bridge.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Motuotaria
Map Location: -40.13333 176.55
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMotuotaria recorded 9.19 in (23.34 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Nikau Hill
Map Location: -40.24785 176.37902
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicNikau Hill recorded 10.31 in (26.19 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 27th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Ohakea
Map Location: -40.203473 175.377875
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicOhakea recorded 5.0 in (12.7 cm) of rain in three days.

FloodingFlooding at Opiki
Map Location: -40.444716 175.453033
Comments:

Crop DamageThe main drainage system at Opiki overlapped its banks and flooded crop land.

FloodingFlooding at Oroua River
Map Location: -40.316054 175.486605
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicOroua River had a disharge of 5656 cusecs (160 cumecs) at Kopane Bridge.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Pahiatua
Map Location: -40.457232 175.849226
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicPahitua recorded 6.96 in (17.6 cm) of rain in 48 hours.

CommentIt was the heaviest rainfall for 30 years.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactThe main street resembled a miniature lake.

ImpactThe town was isolated by floodwaters.

EvacueesThe creek south of Pahiatua became a raging torrent. It cut into the highway and caused a number of families to evacuate their homes.

CommentThis flood was worse than the flood of 1941.

Stock DamageStock losses occurred in low-lying country with ewes and lambs being swept away.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Palmerston North
Map Location: -40.355525 175.616438
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicPalmerston North recorded 5 in (12.7 cm) of rain in 48 hours.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineExits from Palmerston North with the exception of the main road north to Wanganui were closed.

Affected LifelineThe highway from Palmerston North to Levin was blocked.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelinePalmerston North was cut off from the East Coast by road and rail due to slips in the Manawatu Gorge.

FloodingFlooding at Pongaroa
Map Location: -40.539093 176.198738
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe town was isolated by floodwaters for two days. There was no road or rail into the town.

Physical CharacteristicThe roads were covered to a depth of 5 ft (1.52 m) in places.

CommentA Pongaroa resident described it as the worst flood in nearly 50 years.

Affected LifelineThe telephone cable over the Pongaroa bridge was carried away .

FloodingFlooding at Pongaroa River
Map Location: -40.52131 176.15714
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicPongaroa River had a discharge of 20,200 cusecs (572 cumecs) with a catchment area of 20 sq miles (52 km^2).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Shannon
Map Location: -40.54778 175.41487
Comments:

CommentTorrential rain hit Shannon on the 27th.

CommentTokomaru River rose rapidly.

FloodingFlooding at Taonui
Map Location: -40.256048 175.592591
Comments:

ImpactWater overflowed into the Taonui basin near the Rangitane Toll bridge when the banks of the river breached.

Physical CharacteristicThe water level in the Taonui basin was 42.2 ft (12.9 m) and was 18 in (0.46 m) higher than the 1902 flood level. The stopbanks were also breached in other areas.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Waiwhero homestead
Map Location: -40.07121 176.65972
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWaiwhero Station recorded 352 mm (35.2 cm) of rain.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Wanganui
Map Location: -39.932232 175.028352
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWanganui recorded 1.96 in (4.97 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

LandslideLandslide at Weber
Map Location: -40.40153 176.30772
Comments:

Affected LifelineWeber County suffered severe damage. There were 35 slips on the road from Dannevirke to Weber County.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineWeber Road and the East Coast were covered by floodwaters.

Affected LifelineThe telephone line from Dannevirke to Weber was down.

FloodingFlooding at Woodville
Map Location: -40.342202 175.873222
Comments:

ImpactThere were large areas of surface flooding.

Wellington

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Wellington
Comments:

CommentThere was torrential rain and flooding in the Wellington region on the 28th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactIn South Wairarapa 10,000 acres (4047 ha) of low-lying farmland was inundated.

Damage CostDamage to county roads cost £19,400 ($967,000 2009 dollars).

Stock DamageStock losses were expected to be heavy in the Haungarua and Mangarama areas.

FloodingFlooding at Hutt River
Map Location: -41.162848 174.974804
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicHutt River had a discharge of approximately 19,500 cusecs (552 cumecs).

Affected LifelineThe Taita railway bridge was seriously damaged due to heavy flooding of the river.

FloodingFlooding at Masterton
Map Location: -40.964296 175.667649
Comments:

Affected LifelinePassengers in a Woodville-Masterton railcar spent the night in the car when they became isolated by slips.

FloodingFlooding at Ruamahanga River
Map Location: -41.102055 175.509442
Comments:

CommentRuamahanga River was at its highest level since 1949.

Marlborough

FloodingFlooding at Flags Creek
Map Location: -41.92001 174.08689
Comments:

Peak DischargeFlags Creek at Wharanui had a peak discharge of 700 cusecs (20 cumecs).

FloodingFlooding at Flaxbourne River
Map Location: -41.79769 174.11974
Comments:

Peak DischargeFlaxbourne River had a peak discharge of 4500 cusecs (127 cumecs) at the lime works.

Canterbury

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Canterbury
Comments:

CommentThere was heavy rain thoughout province causing flooding from the 24th to the 27th. There was exceptional amounts of rain in the foothills.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentThere was major flooding in the Ashley, Clarence, Porangahau and Manawatu rivers.

DamageThere was widespread damage to farmland.

Affected LifelineRoad and rail communication to the north and west of Christchurch was severed.

Damage CostMain highways in mid-Canterbury had damage totalling £5850 ($292,000 2009 dollars).

Damage CostThe damage to State Highways 51 and 72 in North Canterbury cost £38,700 ($1,930,000 2009 dollars).

Affected LifelineRail and road communications to the south were cut.

CommentCanterbury rivers and creeks were in high flood.

Affected LifelineThe railway line to the West Coast was washed out between Springfield and Arthurs Pass.

Affected LifelineThe main railway line north was impassable due to damage to a bridge over the Ashley River.

ImpactThousands of acres of farmland was inundated.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineRoads to the West Coast over both the Lewis and Arthur Pass were blocked due to slips.

FloodingFlooding at Acheron River
Map Location: -42.04082 173.19359
Comments:

Peak DischargeAcheron River, a tributary of the Clarence, peaked at 10,284 cusecs (291 cumecs) at Pudding Hill.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Ashley Gorge
Map Location: -43.22999 172.22308
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicAshley Gorge recorded 4.50 in (11.43 cm) of rain in 48 hours from the 24th to the 25th.

FloodingFlooding at Ashley River
Map Location: -43.27606 172.67771
Comments:

DamageThe river caused widespread damage to farmlands.

ImpactAshley River broke through the emergency stopbanks above the Rangiora traffic bridge and flowed towards Rangiora, Coldstream, Kaiapoi, Woodend and Waikuku.

Affected LifelineThere was serious disruption of road and rail communications over the Ashley River.

Affected LifelineThere were telephone outages.

Peak DischargeAshely River had a peak discharge of 33,000 cusecs (934 cumecs) at the Gorge.

CommentThe worst flooding was in the Ashley River which broke its banks near Rangiora.

FloodingFlooding at Christchurch
Map Location: -43.53112 172.636147
Comments:

CommentChristchurch was virtually isolated from the north and west.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Clarence River
Map Location: -42.353151 172.789399
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicClarence Valley recorded 5.0 in (12.7 cm) of rain in eight hours on the 25th.

Physical CharacteristicClarence Valley recorded 10.0 in (25.4 cm) of rain in three days.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

DamageClarence River caused widespread damage to farmlands.

Affected LifelineThe river caused serious disruption of road and rail communications. 110 yards (101 m) of the northern approach to the Clarence traffic bridge was washed away.

Peak DischargeClarence River had a peak discharge of 81,576 cusecs (2310 cumecs) at Waiauroa Bridge. It was at a level 5 inches (0.13 m) lower than the flood of the previous November.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Darfield
Map Location: -43.484623 172.113507
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicDarfield recorded 3.3 in (8.38 cm) of rain from the 23rd to the 25th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Glenburn
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicGlenburn recorded 9.67 in (24.56 cm) of rain in 48 hours from the 24th to the 25th.

FloodingFlooding at Hapuku River
Map Location: -42.30764 173.70257
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicHapuku River rose 6.5 ft (1.98 m) at railway bridge

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Hororata
Map Location: -43.53589 171.94819
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicHororata recorded 4.76 in (12.09 cm) of rain from the 23rd to the 25th.

FloodingFlooding at Kahutara River
Map Location: -42.36028 173.423035
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicKahutara River rose 9 ft (2.74 m) at the railway bridge.

FloodingFlooding at Kowhai River
Map Location: -42.366344 173.583931
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicKowhai River rose 6 ft (1.83 m) at the railway bridge.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Lees Valley
Map Location: -43.14685 172.17342
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicLee's Valley recorded 10.67 in (27.10 cm) of rain in 48 hours from the 24th to the 25th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Mount Torlesse
Map Location: -43.25447 171.82249
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMt Torlesse recorded 5.14 in (13.06 cm) of rain from the 23rd to the 25th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Orari
Map Location: -44.13804 171.29931
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicOrari recorded 2.86 in (7.26 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

FloodingFlooding at Orari River
Map Location: -43.856743 170.916861
Comments:

DamageThe Orari River catchment was affected by the flooding and there was damage to protective works and overtopping.

FloodingFlooding at Rangiora
Map Location: -43.310007 172.570781
Comments:

Affected LifelineMany bridges in Rangiora county were damaged.

FloodingFlooding at Selwyn River
Map Location: -43.6641 172.294396
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicSelwyn River had a discharge pf 18,600 cusecs (527 cumecs) at the Ellesmere Bridge with a catchment area of 252 sq miles (653 km^2).

FloodingFlooding at Waimakariri River
Map Location: -43.459744 172.289962
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWaimakariri River had a peak discharge of 59,200 cusecs (1676 cumecs) at the traffic bridge.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Wharfedale
Map Location: -43.15014 172.19674
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWharfdale recorded 10.87 in (27.61 cm) of rain in 48 hours from the 24th to the 25th.

FloodingFlooding at Woodend
Map Location: -43.32104 172.66576
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe main road north near Woodend was closed.

ImpactSeveral farms in the Woodend-Waikuku district were isolated.

References

Catalogue of Severe Hail Storms, 1924 - 1986 and 1991 - 2006: Source: Neale.
Cowie, C.A., Attwood, A.K. (1957) Floods in New Zealand 1920-1953, The Soil Conservation Control Council, Wellington, New Zealand
Hydrology Annual No.3 1955, Soil Conservation and River Control Council, Wellington, New Zealand
Johnston, D.D., and Pearse, L.J. 2007. Hazards in Hawke's Bay. Hawke's Bay Regional Council, Napier, New Zealand.
Major weather events in New Zealand, FLOODS and HIGH RAINFALL to 31st May 2006.
NZ Met Service. (2008). Meteorology of Extreme Rainfalls in New Zealand (Mark Pascoe, Ed.).
Owen, R.E., 1957. Rainfall Observations for 1953, New Zealand Meteorological Service.
Saunders, W.(2000) Planning and Resources, Hazard and Emergency Management Section, WAIRARAPA DIVISION, Wairarapa Storm Events 1880 - 1998, Technical Report No. 00/17
Headline: Major floods in southern zone of North Island.
The Evening Post, January 28 1953.
Headline: Pongaroa out of Isolation.
The Evening Post, January 29 1953.
Headline: Deluge At Glencoe Breaks Up Girl Guides Camp.
The Hawkes Bay Herald-Tribune, 27 January 1953.
Headline: Violent Electrical Storms Over many Areas.
The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune, 27 January 1953.
Headline: Devastation and Big Seep Losses In Central H.B.
The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune, 28 January 1953.
Headline: Heaviest Rainfall East Of Tukituki Some Stock Losses.
The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune, 28 January 1953.
Headline: Manawatu Rises To Record Levels Flooding Roads.
The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune, 28 January 1953.
Headline: Torrential Rain Inundates Wide Areas
The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune, 28 January 1953.
Headline: Waipawa Houses Threatened by Flood.
The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune, 28 January 1953.
Headline: Planes Drop Bread to Marooned Porangahau.
The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune, 29 January 1953.
Headline: Floods block Canterbury Rail and Roadways.
The Wanganui Chronicle, 26 January 1953.
Headline: Heavy rain in Tararua Ranges causes floods.
The Wanganui Chronicle, 28 January 1953.